How to be an Authority in Your Niche/ Market in 10 Easy Steps

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 11:30pm by Site Administrator

Writing does not come naturally to most people, but the activity in the blogosphere might suggest otherwise. Unfortunately, regular fresh content is crucial for building up a website, especially for businesses – whether you selling products or services online. Many entrepreneurs have selected blogging as their delivery vehicle for content, both for the informal style of writing needed, as well as because blogs enjoy special “relevance” status in many top search engines.

If you’re in this boat and don’t know how to get started, here are my suggestions:

  1. Get started. Launch your business website, if it’s appropriate to do so. This is the general online face of your business and encompasses all online activity that represents your company.

  2. Add a blog. Your business blog, if you have one, will be a less formal connection to your website visitors. Add a blog to a subdirectory, not a subdomain. So use mysite.com/blog instead of blog.mysite.com. You can call the subdirectory anything, but I suggest “blog”, “journal”, “notes” or something of that sort.
  3. Determine readershp. Whether you do the blogging or hire a professional, be sure to offer a consistent schedule. That’s more important than blogging daily. But be sure to consider who your audience is. Will your blog readers be other bloggers in your niche, potential customers, your (future) competitors, casual visitors, etc. Who should they be depends on your objective for your blog.
  4. Use reportage. If you don’t yet have an editorial calendar and are not sure what to write about, or don’t have time for indepth content, start by reporting on happenings in your niche.
  5. Add your voice. Gradually add your own commentary to your reportage. Base what you say on your knowledg of the niche. However, be careful not to be insulting or nitpicking. The average blogger can get away with this, but you cannot – not if you’re representing your business. The other thing you can’t do is talk “at” readers. If you’re going to sell, be indirect.
  6. Expand your coverage. As you gain confidence in your writing voice, expand your posts. Add original information, share your experiences in your industry, write more of what you know. Just remember who your audience is; this will determine how you write about a topic.
  7. Build your authority. Always deep-link to relevant posts you’ve already written on your site, as well to authority sites/ content elsewhere. This helps build your authority in search engines.
  8. Show your authority. As you gain even more confidence in writing – as well as website authority in search engines – create original content such as e-books, screencasts, video, audio, indepth articles and reports. Teach what you know. Show your authority.
  9. Promote your content. There are a number of ways to promote your best content online, but one of the most effective ways is through social media sites. These including bookmarking and voting sites, as well as Stumbleupon. Keep in mind, though, that social media site members do not like to be promoted to. Some topics are difficult to promote through SMM (Social Media Marketing).
  10. Advertise your site. If social media promotion is not appropriate for your  niche, consider advertising, possibly through PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising campaigns or some other form of advertising. Don’t look at the campaign cost on a per visitor, or you’ll lose money. If you need 1,000 visitors to make 5 sales, divided the advertising cost by 5, not 1000. If you can’t justify the cost of advertising, rethink your blogging plan. Consider hiring a blogging consultant for some advice.

If your business has nothing to do with selling expert content, then that’s not something you want to add to your website or blog. If you have the urge to monetize a website, do it on a separate domain. Your business should not be perceived as trying to make money both through your regular products or services offerings and through advertising – unless of course you give your products, such as software, away free.

10 Ways a Ron Paul Presidency Would Help Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 1:50pm by Site Administrator

We’re almost exactly one year away from the actual 2008 presidential election, and candidates on all sides are gearing up for another intense, whirlwind season of campaigning and fundraising that will hopefully be rewarded with a spot in the White House. Americans are also stepping up to the plate, paying more attention to the candidates and agonizing which ones affect their lives the most. Entrepreneurs, for example, are looking for a president who will allow them optimum freedom to conduct their businesses the way they know best.

Republican candidate Ron Paul has been toted as the conservative Constitutionalist, a former doctor and longtime Congressman whose purist ideals have led him to pledge a scaled-back presence of the Federal government if he is elected president. How would this philosophy help entrepreneurs? While we’re not officially endorsing Dr. Ron Paul for president, we think these 10 issues would give entrepreneurs and their businesses an extra boost. Read on to find out how.

  1. Ron Paul’s Tax Plan: One of Ron Paul’s most appealing points is his proposed tax plan. He opposes raising taxes and even plans to abolish the individual income tax and the federal income tax. Besides eliminating the debate over how much people in varying economic levels must pay in taxes, most Americans would obviously find themselves with a significant higher salary each year. With the extra cash flow, entrepreneurs would also have the ability to hire more employees, increase company spending on supplies, technology, and other resources, and improve their businesses overall.
  2. Social Security for Americans Only Act: Ron Pauls’ Social Security revolution is one practice that would allow him to reduce taxes. According to Dr. Paul, "today['s]…system is broke and broken." Instead of pumping more American dollars into the Social Security system, Dr. Paul plans to limit the benefits given to Americans only, and not illegal aliens. This plan saves Americans money by decreasing the amount of dollars spent on Social Security benefits as a whole. In addition, Dr. Paul also intends to make Social Security optional for workers by "cut[ting] payroll taxes and" allowing them "the opportunity to seek better returns in the private market." As payroll taxes are cut, employers no longer have to match a portion of the taxes taken out of each of their employees’ paychecks.
  3. New Health Plan: In an effort to decrease government spending, Dr. Paul proposes a new health plan that eliminates many federal government-sponsored programs and plans like universal health care. As the "national leader in preserving Health Freedom," Dr. Paul promotes a weaker FDA and the individiual’s right to choose what vitamins and foods he or she consumes. If the government stops spending Americans’ money on health care programs, entrepreneurs would notice a hefty salary increase.
  4. Support of Hard Money: Inflation could very well be every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare. Business owners are forced to raise prices on all of their products as a result of paying more for basic goods and supplies, and consumers quake at the thought of overspending and instead keep their wallets tightly shut. To combat inflation, Ron Paul supports the idea of hard money, or money backed by gold and silver. If the United States operated on a hard money system, the Federal Reserve wouldn’t be able to print extra money, and Ron Paul beleives that inflation would disappear.
  5. Against the Iraq War: Ron Paul is the only 2008 Republican candidate who voted against the war in Iraq. As an anti-interventionist, Dr. Paul would like to see the U.S. begin pulling out of Iraq and cut military spending. Entrepreneurs would enjoy improved relations with overseas business partners and contacts, debatedly lower gas prices that can dominate a small business’ budget, and slighter taxes that would otherwise be used to support the war.
  6. Believes in Free Trade: A free trading system would benefit entrepreneurs immensely. Business owners would be able to maintain contacts, persue trades, maximize profits and access capital resources without interference from the government, which could impose tariffs, boycotts, or other regulations.
  7. Opposes Welfare for Illegal Aliens: Just as Ron Paul plans to eliminate Social Security benefits for illegal aliens, he hopes to save Americans money by abolishing welfare benefits for illegal aliens. Dr. Paul believes in protecting Americans first and foremost, including financially. Limiting government-sponsored welfare programs cuts government spending, thus saving both struggling and booming businesses money.
  8. Plan to Minimize the Role of the Federal Government: Ron Paul believes that states are more qualified and better-equipped to deal with supposedly localized issues like education and health care than the federal government. In addition to cutbacks in social funding, Paul also supports the liquidation of organizations like the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security in order to drastically decrease spending and put more money into other, more deserving projects and into the pockets of American citizens.
  9. Supports a Free Internet: If there’s one technological resource that entrepreneurs value above all others, it’s probably the Internet. The Internet makes fundraising, networking, and reaching out to new customers excruciatingly easy, and Ron Paul recognizes its necessity. Dr. Paul’s own campaign has benefited from the Internet, and in an interview with PBS‘ The News Hour, he discusses how he has reached out to millions of younger voters through MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and other member-driven sites. Perhaps his profitable experiences have led him to support the idea of a free Internet, an unregulated, uniterrupted Web community of individuals who socialize, conduct business, and earn their livelihood online.
  10. Privacy and Personal Liberty: Ron Paul’s devotionto privacy and personal liberty makes him a popular candidate among entrepreneurs. He believes that business owners deserve a reasonable allocation of privacy as they work with customers, vendors, investors, and banks to support their business endeavors.

No matter which candidate you end up supporting in the coming months, entrepreneurs have a difficult decision to make. With threats of inflation, war with Iran, and an overall economic slowdown, these 10 points are worth considering.

Multitasking for the Entrepreneur: 9 Steps

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 9:30pm by Site Administrator

There’s been a debate recently about whether multitasking is a good thing or not. Some “experts” say it’s not good that teens and pre-teens multitask. (I.e., those that have six Internet Messaging sessions going simultaneously, along with a cell phone call, all while doing their homework.) For adults, though, sometimes it’s the only way to get things done, especially for work.

Multitasking is not about doing multiple things at the same time, but rather doing them simultaneously. That is, you initiate more than one task and, with careful preparation beforehand, alternate between them at appropriate milestones.

Effective entrepreneurs are multi-taskers and critical thinkers; they think outside the proverbial box and know how to efficiently juggle multiple tasks.

Multitasking does not work for all types of tasks Performing multiple physical tasks, including chatting with six friends at once, is often counterproductive and mentally exhausting – even if you don’t realize it consciously.

Multitasking works best if you have tasks you can delegate or computer resources. The essence of multitasking is that you start a task, and while it’s being completed by a computer or another person, you start another task. You will check back on Task #1 when you have a break in Task #2 – or earlier if the first task has high priority.

Here are the steps I usually apply, usually mentally:

  1. Enumerate all tasks to be completed between now and a given date.
  2. Break down each task into manageable subtasks. This is crucial, as you will interleave subtasks. Without this, there is no efficient multitasking.
  3. Determine if any tasks are bottleneck points. That is, if other tasks are reliant on them. These are the tasks that need to be initiated early.
  4. Map out sub-task relationships if you like, so that you have a visual representation of subtask priority and relationships.
  5. Initiate any tasks that will be bottlenecks. Put priority on them, start them first.
  6. Pick the highest priority task and start its first subtask, if any. Delegate it if necessary/ possible, once initiated. Or start it running in software mode.
  7. Move to the next most important task and initiate its first subtask.
  8. Now, either go back task 1 or move on to task 3. What you do depends on task/ subtask priorities and whether you are delegating or doing the actual work yourself.
  9. Repeat until all tasks are complete. Keep in mind that this may take a single day, several days, or weeks. It really depends on the actualy work and your resources.

A caution: multitasking works best for non-physical tasks. Anything that’s dangerous or otherwise requires constant human monitoring should not be multitasked. Of course, computer-related tasks improve your chances of success.

BlackBerry on Crack: 25 Tools to Supercharge Your Lifeline

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 2:18pm by Site Administrator

The BlackBerry is a useful tool on its own, but have you ever wondered if it’s possible to make it even more effective? If so, you’re not the only one. There are a number of tools designed to take your BlackBerry’s capabilities even farther, and we’ve listed some of the best here.

Documents

BlackBerries are great for communication, but still have a ways to go in terms of mobile office work. Use these tools to get up to speed with reports, documents, and other mobile office gems.

  1. Cognos 8 Go! Mobile: With Cognos 8, users can access business intelligence information on the go. It’s designed for groups that need to distribute reports to users on mobile devices, so it operates with remote installation and administration.
  2. RepliGo: View documents in a quality that rivals your desktop computer with RepliGo. Features include the ability to zoom in to see everything as well as online document storage. With integrated communications like email, fax, and printing, you can share documents easily. You’ll also be able to take advantage of bookmarks, hyperlinks, and tags for quick access.
  3. MicroStrategy Mobile: Don’t bother reformatting business reports to view them on your Blackberry. Use MicroStrategy to view them without having to adjust their size. You can set your own preferences for viewing, and the program integrates with existing applications like email, text, and phone.

Search & Navigation

If you’re a heavy traveler, you probably want more navigation and local search than the BlackBerry currently offers. Stay on top of directions, restaurants, and traffic using these tools.

  1. Spot: This software from Skylab Mobilesystems offers GPS on the BlackBerry. Features include tracklogs, moving map navigation, waypoints, integrated GPS, Bluetooth, and more.
  2. Beyond411: Use Beyond411 for business listings and GPS search from your BlackBerry. You’ll get instant access to yellow and white pages, address book integration, local prices, search, and more.
  3. Windows Live Search Mobile: BlackBerry users can find local information, navigation with turn-by-turn directions, traffic information, and Internet search with Windows Live Search Mobile. Just point your BlackBerry’s browser to wls.live.com to download this useful tool.
  4. Google Maps Mobile: Combine Google Maps with your BlackBerry on a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server, or just on your own. You can get live traffic updates, business locations, local listings, and interactive maps.

Conversion

Although the BlackBerry is a great tool for the office, it’s not always easy to get information back and forth from your device to your computer. These two tools make it a breeze to do just that.

  1. ABC Amber BlackBerry Convertor: Get files out of your device and onto your computer using this handy convertor. It takes contacts, emails, calendar events, phone call logs, and lots of other items, then converts them into nearly any type of file you want, including HTML, PDF, TXT and DOC. You can even convert directly to Microsoft Outlook.
  2. BeamBerry: Have you gotten an email with an attachment your BlackBerry can’t read? Use BeamBerry to make it compatible. With this software, you can view document attachments in formats like PDF, Word, Power Point, and Rich Text.

Organization

Take your mobile scheduling and organization to a whole new level with these tools.

  1. Backpack Mobile: 37signals’ Backpack app is available on the BlackBerry. This web-based software makes it easy to plan, share, and remind yourself of tasks. Dave Mabe’s BlackBerry Hacks book even has a chapter on "Using Backpace as Your Mobile Workspace."
  2. Mobylo! MultiAlarm: Take your BlackBerry’s alarm functionality to its limit with this app. You can use Mobylo! to set multiple alarms with rules, appointments, and more. It offers holiday alarm blackouts, and loads of different ringtone options.

Money

Whether you’re in the office or not, your finances still need to be managed. These tools make it convenient to stay on top of your money.

  1. Necho Expense BlackBerry Edition: BlackBerry users can utilize Necho Expense to create expense reports, review transactions, add out of pocket transactions, and upload reports for review.
  2. StockView: Staying on top of stocks while you’re on the go can be difficult, but with StockView, you can stay connected to the latest stock prices. This free stock viewer sends up to date stock prices to your BlackBerry.

Collaboration & Communication

Although the BlackBerry is already a great communication tool, these resources take it a step beyond, offering translation, remote access, cheap calls, and more.

  1. BlackBerry Unite!: Groups of up to five users can share collaboration and remote access tools on their BlackBerries with BlackBerry Unite! It offers shared calendars, documents, and more. You can even remotely erase information in case a handset is stolen, and all data is backed up automatically to a desktop PC.
  2. Translator+: Get this multi-translation tool on your BlackBerry to translate words and phrases. You can integrate it with BlackBerry email and save translations to your memory. This software supports more than 10 popular languages.
  3. IM+: Stay connected to instant messaging while you’re on the go using IM+. You’ll get instant messaging on AIM, MSN, iChat, Yahoo!, ICQ, MySpace and more with this software. IM+ gives you several accounts in just this one app.
  4. iSkoot: If you make a lot of expensive international calls, check out iSkoot. This BlackBerry Skype client makes it easy to send and receive Skype calls on your BlackBerry handset, so you can use this service instead of racking up huge bills.
  5. Empower HTML Mail Viewer: If you prefer HTML email to the BlackBerry’s stripped down view, check out this viewer. It offers true to form HTML emails with images, links, and graphics.

Security & Privacy

Whether you want to secure your passwords or just keep annoying phone calls out of your hair, these tools can make it happen.

  1. Secure Password Manager: Keep all of your passwords, credit card numbers, registration codes, and PINs handy with Secure Password Manager. You can use it to store this important data as well as generate random passwords that are hard for hackers to guess. With 256-bit Blowfish encryption, you can be sure that your data is safe, too.
  2. Black & Whitelist: If you have trouble with harassing phone calls, you can set up a black and whitelist on your BlackBerry to keep annoying callers at bay. This app detects incoming calls and rejects anyone who is blacklisted. You have the option to only accept calls from your address book for ultimate privacy.

Miscellaneous

Find even more helpful tools for your Blackberry in this section.

  1. BlackBerryTools: This open source suite of tools offers weather, a start page, backlight control, spell checking, and lots of other useful functions.
  2. Mobile Desktop: How would you like to access your desktop PC from your BlackBerry? With this piece of software, you can. Use Mobile Desktop to get wireless access to your desktop and applications, and you’ll never have to worry about being chained to your desk again.
  3. digby: Order products and services online directly from your BlackBerry using digby. This tool is great for finding information on the fly. For example, if you just got a book recommendation from a friend, you can check it out right away without having to wait to get online at home or in the office. They have loads of shops, like Office Max, Barnes and Noble, and even FTD and Godiva for last-minute romantic gifts.
  4. BBTetris: Have fun with the ever-popular puzzle game Tetris, made available for BlackBerry devices.
  5. Mobile SSH: Using Rove Mobile’s Mobile SSH, you can solve server problems remotely. It’s a client-side application, so you don’t have to worry about installing agents or server-side components.

The Headhunting Toolbox: 50 Freebie Tools to Find Your Next All-Star Employee

Monday, October 29, 2007 at 1:35pm by Site Administrator

The job market isn’t just tough on would-be employees: headhunters and recruiters must also work hard to promote their clients’ companies, weed through hundreds of applicants and online job sites, and face rejection during the fight to recruit (and keep) the most loyal, dependent, and capable job candidates. In order to help you locate all-start employees, we’ve come up with this list of 50 freebie tools and resources that are frequented by prime job searchers. Online Job Boards

Visit these online job sites to search for reputable applicants, or to post a job notification and let them come to you.

  1. Google Base: This widely popular site will grant you access to well-qualified job searchers. You can choose to upload job descriptions one by one or as an entire spreadsheet file.
  2. Simply Hired: Simply Hired connects to employer websites to provide job seekers with new opportunities.
  3. Fuuze.com: Fuuze.com allows employers to post an unlimited number of jobs on their site for free. Job postings will appear for up to 60 days.
  4. Post a Job USA: Post a Job USA narrows down your search by linking your post with job seekers who are looking for a job in your state.
  5. The Job Spider: Search the resume database or post a job for millions of job seekers to see. This site also allows employers to edit and delete job posts whenever they want.
  6. LuckyDogJobs: Post your jobs and search resumes for free on LuckyDogJobs.com.
  7. DegreedJobs.com: This site connects recruiters with only the job searchers that hold degrees. Post as many jobs as you want for free.
  8. Niche Classifieds: Job postings on this site’s new job boards are totally free. Search by industry to get more information.
  9. Post Job Free: This job board is still relatively new, it’s definitely worth checking out. Send them your job notification, and they’ll post it on several different job sites at no charge.
  10. Hire Fire: Job seekers are attracted to this site because of its custom-designed search options. Search the resume database or post, edit and delete your company’s job opportunities.
  11. WorkTree.com: Check out the Recruiter Zone on WorkTree.com to create a profile and obtain advertising benefits, job search tools, and access to resumes that are e-mailed directly to your inbox.

Tools for Finding Freelancers

Hiring freelancers and contractors is becoming more and more popular among employers. Consider these job sites aimed at freelancers to save your company from spending extra money in overhead. Companies can also start off an employee as a freelancer, and then decide to hire him or her as a full-time employee if they prove to be compatible.

  1. All Freelance: All Freelance is one of the most popular employment resources among freelancers. Post a job on this site for free, and instantly find yourself connected with thousands of professionals.
  2. Workaholics4Hire.com: This site connects employers with highly professional, pre-screened freelancers. Payment for the job first goes through Workaholics4Hire to ensure completion, security, and satisfaction.
  3. FreelanceSwitch: Post jobs for free on this all-inclusive freelancer resource site. Categories include: design/illustration, writing/blogging, programming, and more.
  4. Go Freelance: GoFreelancer is known on the Web as "the freelance work exchange." Post jobs for free and read articles about the freelancing industry to understand where your future emplyoees are coming from.
  5. Guru.com: Guru.com, "The world’s largest online marketplace for freelance talent," is the place to find capable freelance professionals. Choose to post a job listing or to conduct your own search to find the perfect candidate.
  6. Freelance BBS: Browse through the resumes of qualified freelancers or post contract jobs on Freelance BBS free of charge.
  7. Media Bistro: Search the freelance marketplace for serious individuals who want to work with you.

Networking

Sometimes finding your next employee is as easy as hiring someone you already know. Start networking to branch out and meet new contacts who can help you with your search by recommending candidates to your office.

  1. ecademy: ecademy is a popular networking site for "connecting business people" all over the world. Logging in as a Basic Member is free.
  2. Company of Friends: This business network is sponsored by Fast Company magazine. Connect with thousands of other business people to "collaborate, solve problems, and develop skills."
  3. hi5: Meet new people when you create a profile on hi5. Search new college grads to attract applicants with degrees, advertise your company’s perks and benefits on your profile, or just link up with other headhunters to share advice.
  4. MyWorkster: Employers are allowed to sign up separately from students and alumni to distinguish themselves as in-demand recruiters. Network with potential employees or custom create job postings in which you "can target geographic demographics, specific colleges, and or industry preferences."
  5. Meetup: Organize job fairs, mixers, or industry meetings when you network with the other members of Meetup.
  6. PowerMingle.com: With the help of PowerMingle.com, you can "extend your professional network" by meeting new contacts and organizing events and conferences.
  7. Networking for Professionals: Networking for Professionals is a large, well-respected networking community aimed at connecting business people and strengthening their professional relationships. Check here to find out if you are eligible for a free membership offer.
  8. Ziggs: Create and nurture business relationships with the help of Ziggs, a "one-stop source for creating and managing your online brand" or company. Membership is free.
  9. Ryze: The award-winning business networking site Ryze allows you to set up a member homepage, meet other recruiters and potential candidates, and solidify important deals.
  10. LinkedIn: Strict privacy settings ensure that your contacts and personal information are only shared with your friends. Sign up for a free account in order to post jobs or just meet other professionals in your industry.
  11. YorZ: Post job postings for free, accessible only to serious, professional YorZ members.
  12. Net Party: Want to meet the newest crop of talented young professionals? Find out about Net Party’s happy hour and networking events in your city.

Other Tools

Find employees, organize applications, and manage your client contacts with these useful tools.

  1. The Recruiter’s Toolkit: This comprehensive toolkit comes with lots of valuable tips for finding employees, researching the company you’re headhunting for, and deciphering resumes.
  2. 11 Web-based Project Management, Collaboration and Communication Tools: Read this article for more easy tools and tips for managing your files and contacts online.
  3. CareerBuilder.com for Employers: This resource is full of articles and ideas for helping you find the best employees. Browse titles like "9 Secrets to Hiring Seasonal Workers" or check out fast facts that shed light on the most current job market trends.
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Access important employment information supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor, like the Compensation and Working Conditions Online and the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.
  5. Salary Calculator: In order to remain competitive in today’s recuriting industry, you have to be aware of what job candidates expect to make. They’ll overlook your post if your offer isn’t at least at the average scale.
  6. National Association of Colleges and Employers: Download free articles and statistics that will help you pinpoint which students and colleges you need to meet with.
  7. Recruiters Network: This Web site is the official "association for Internet recruiting." Meet new contacts on the recruiting forums, get tips for reaching more candidates, and search resumes.
  8. The Riley Guide: Enter the recuriters and employers section to find free tools and guides for finding the best employees.
  9. HR.BLR.com: Start a free trial to access gret recruitment tools like calculators, job description examples, and others.
  10. Recruiters Online Network: Post jobs, find support, and connect with future clients on the Recruiters Online Network.

News and Information

Check out these Web sites, blogs and other resources for tips on how to better your headhunting skills by staying on top of all the news and trends in the recruiting industry.

  1. Job Board Reviews: This excellent Web site has a section just for employers, where you can access the latest in industry news.
  2. Ask The Headhunter: This popular headhunting Web site includes great articles like "Top Ten Stupid Hiring Mistakes," that will help guide you through the recruiting process.
  3. Freelance Jobs News: This Web site posts articles about the changing landscape of freelance work. Educate yourself about new recruitment trends and what freelancers now expect from their future employers.
  4. The Virtual Handshake: Visit the official Web site for The Virtual Handshake to find out how you can access a free copy of this guide to business networking.
  5. Interview with a Headhunter: Take the advice that headhunter Nick A. Corcodilos offers in this interview from the Fast Company Web site to hone your recruiting and interviewing skills.
  6. RecruiterTools.com: The training tips and recruiting advice on Bill Radin’s Web site include articles on the purpose of recruiters, preparing for interviews, and much more. Plus, they’re all free!
  7. Hiring Online? 5 Tips for Maximum Reach: Scroll down to read this summary of innovative ways to advertise jobs online.
  8. Recruiter.com: Read about industry news, recruiting and headhunting training opportunities, and more.
  9. HR.com: While headhunters don’t often communicate with a company’s human resources department frequently, this site offers valuable tips and advice especially for recruiters. Use the free forums to swap stories and make new contacts.
  10. Interbiznet.com: Browse through blog postings and articles to find information about the electronic recruiting industry. Special reports include "Top Job Site Rankings," "Demographic Surprises Report," and "Risks & Benefits of Recruiting Blogs."

Arming yourself with the right tools will help you stand apart from other recruiters and employers who are all vying for the attention of qualified job candidates. These 50 freebies will help you understand what job seekers expect from their potential employers, giving you an added edge in the already competitive market.

Entrepreneurial Debt: 11 Reasons Your Startup Might Suffer Cashflow Problems

Sunday, October 28, 2007 at 10:30pm by Site Administrator

Businesses go out of business all the time. It’s a fact. And it’s almost always because of cash flow problems, possibly due to serious debt. It doesn’t always have to be that way, though – something bootstrapping entrepreneurs probably know better than anyone else. Look deeper at your business workflow; is there something about the way you’re running your business that might be resulting in extra costs? Consider the possibility that one of the following behaviors might be affecting you.

  1. Using desktop software. Most new businesses these days probably use software. But desktop software that you install on your computer can be very costly. Some require “site licenses”, which might mean you have to pay a fee for every person on your team – even if they are not going to use the software. Webware, on the other hand, is either free or paid per person. The cost savings can make or break you. If you have remote team members, at the least try web-based project management tools and meeting managers.
  2. Buying in bulk. Buying in bulk because “it saves money” is not a wise move, financially speaking. If you don’t need it, why commit funds? In the early stages of a startup, you’ll need cash for all sorts of expenses, and if it’s all committed in bulk quantities of items that are not expected to run out for a while, where do you get the funds for what you need right now?
  3. Being extravagant. Unless your impressing your clientele is an absolutely essential part of what you do, buy quality but affordable equipment, furniture, supplies. Chairs at $600 might be nice, but you can buy 3+ relativly good ones for the same money.
  4. Not delegating tasks. If your time is spent doing tasks that someone else can do cheaper – and likely just as well or better – then you’re potentially losing opportunities or simply not doing the bread and butter work. Delegate as much as possible.
  5. Not keeping receipts. Entrepreneurs working for themselves, or with just a few employees, are still in a mindset where they don’t separate personal and business expenses. Simple truth: the less receipts you save, the less you tax writeoffs you’ll have. If you’re really bad at it, and if your accountant is conservative when filing, you could reduce your tax returns by several hundred to several thousand dollars.
  6. Not paying bills on time. This goes hand in hand with buying too many items in bulk “to save money”. If you can’t pay for it with cash on hand, you’ll buy it on your business credit card, which could mean interest or “late fees” of some sort.
  7. Not collecting accounts receivable. Always been on top of payments owed to your business. Many new businesses that go under often do so because they experience growth that their cashflow cannot handle. Use web-based invoicing applications, which send clients automatic reminders. Some even accept payment into your bank account. You can also use Paypal invoicing.
  8. Jumping the gun. Launching too many projects simultaneously on limited capital means you cannot devote the time and budget each one requires to be nurtured to a successful state. So at the end of the day, you have several projects not earning but costing you money.
  9. Overzealousness. Cramming in too many features into a product/ service offering is as bad as launching too many projects. You fragment your resources. Instead, start with an offering that you can offer with great quality, then as revenue comes in, apply the principles of kaizen to add features as necessary, or on demand by clients/ customers.
  10. Not designing w/ scalability in mind. If you design a system or process that cannot be scaled up when the time comes, that could mean having to redesign from scratch and thus expenses you’re not prepared for.
  11. Not bootstrapping. Not sticking to the necessities of your business. This is a catch-all point. Bootstrapping essentially boils down to only spending on what is absolutely necessary. Increase expenditures as revenue allows, and come up with alternate, less expensive ways to get done what you have to. When the business grows and you have larger cash reserves, you can ease up on the bootstrapping, if you find it too restrictive.

A final suggestion if you’re concerned about your cashflow: check out our article The Poor Entrepreneur’s Toolset: 100 Freebies for Bootstrappers.

Business and Entrepreneurship Roundup – Sat Oct 27, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 11:30pm by Site Administrator

While my feed reader is stuffed full of business, entrepreneurship, marketing and related sites, there are a bunch that I turn to daily. I’ve picked out some of my favorite posts of the past week on a selection of blogs.

  1. Ben Yoskovitz at Instigator Blog has a humorous and helpful guide to startup funding. Your choices: bootstrapping, “love money”, angel financing, Series A financing.

  2. College Startup has a bit of a different take. If you’re still in college and looking for capital for your startup, you could take on some jobs, sell stuff or borrow (see “love money”, above).
  3. However, before you consider starting a business, take the entrepreneurship quiz that Shannon Cherry has at Startup Spark.
  4. If you decide to go the bootstrap entrepreneurship route, be aware of the five stages, as Shawn Hessinger of BootstrapMe points out.
  5. If you seek your fortune on the Internet, Adnan at Blogtrepreneur suggests that you plan before you jump into any online business.
  6. Chris Garrett, on the other hand, has a multi-part series about making real money online.
  7. Maki at Dosh Dosh recommends strategic blogging to produce content that will help you generate income online.


Tips for Digital Entrepreneurs: Monetizing Your Website

Friday, October 26, 2007 at 10:12pm by Site Administrator

If you blog as part of your business, you might have heard that Google hit a lot of websites hard on their PR (PageRank) for yet undisclosed reasons. The net result is that a number of formerly high-PR sites now are in jeopardy of losing money from revenues of selling text links in their navigation bars.

However, despite being caught up in it myself, I’ve always believed that anyone who only blogs and hopes to make money from ads is deceiving themselves. Few people will earn a living purely from running their own blog, but might do so from freelancing. And there are the alternatives to monetizing your site, if you do not have a traditional business – as Chris Garrett points out at Blog Herald. This includes, of course, selling your services online and/or selling affiliate products.

If you have skills that can be taught, or are generally a subject matter expert, you should seriously consider building a paid-membership subscription site. You offer the free material on your blog, but offer very targeted lessons (articles, ebooks, audio, video/ screencasts) to paid members only.

As Brian Clark of Copyblogger points out in his free report at Teaching Sells, “information wants to be valuable.” Believe me, not everyone appreciates free content, and if you are releasing your best for free, you are diluting its value by not limiting its exclusivity.

What’s more, you do not need to convert thousands of paying members to make the effort worth your while. One hundred loyal members at $50/mth is $5K/mth, or 200@$30 is $6K/mth. And when you want to expand, if you offer a commission to existing members to promote your service, everyone wins. On top the regular monthly offering, you can produce other content in various formats, which members can choose to pay for.

If you offer targeted content to the people who actually want it, you might very likely build a profitable business out of it – well beyond five or six thousand dollars in revenue per month.

Subscription content formats to consider:

  1. E-newsletters with both summaries of articles and fresh content. Though this newsletter would be aimed at non-paying subscribers, in order to entice them.
  2. Articles.
  3. Ebooks.
  4. Audio/ podcasts.
  5. Live video and screencasts.

In addition to all this, you can offer paid consulting, to be conducted through VoIP software such as Skype. Since Skype and PayPal are owned by eBay, they’ve made it easy for someone to pay from PayPal within Skype.

Hidden Gems: The 100 .edu sites every Entrepreneur Should Read

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 11:25am by Site Administrator

Whether you’re an ivy-leaguer or a high school dropout, chances are you still have quite a bit to learn from others. Why not learn from the people who do learning best? Check out these .edu blogs and other informative sites for strategies, theory, and concrete resources for building and growing your business.

Marketing

Marketing may be one of the many things you try to squeeze into your business, but for the people behind these sites, this is all they do. Take advantage of their ability to specialize and use their knowledge to better market your business.

  1. Center for Customer Insight & Marketing Solutions: This center at the University of Texas focuses on customer-driven business practices and marketing.
  2. Journal of Consumer Research: Learn more about consumers with this journal.
  3. Marketing Visions & Business Software Solutions Blog: Get an academic perspective on Internet marketing here.
  4. Advertising World: Get linked up with lots of marketing services and ideas in this huge directory from the University of Texas.
  5. Marketing Weblog: Learn about building brands, marketing over Second Life, and more on this blog from Instituto de Impresa.
  6. Research Design and Statistics: Learn about psychology, behavioral economics, and decision making in this blog by Craig Marker.

Innovation

Inside every great entrepreneur is an inventor, constantly thinking of new and exciting ways to solve problems and create new things. These sites support the inventor inside, offering encouragement, resources, and a whole lot more.

  1. Invention Dimension: Invention Dimension, a part of the Lemelson-MIT Program, is full of inventor profiles and resources for innovative entrepreneurs.
  2. The Art of the New: The Art of the New encourages and shares innovative thinking.
  3. Innovation: Jim Moore takes a look at innovation, intellectual property, economics, and more.
  4. Government Innovators Network: Check out this network if you plan to do contract work with the government.
  5. Invention Master Resource List: This resource list from Berkeley is full of links for innovative entrepreneurs.
  6. Center for Innovation in Product Development: This center at MIT promotes innovative products, offering resources from concept to market launch.
  7. The Patriot Entrepreneur: On this blog, you’ll get news about innovation at George Mason University and beyond.
  8. MIT Innovation Club Blog: Read this blog to learn about some of the smart innovations MIT students and alumni have created.
  9. National Technology Transfer Center: NTTC offers assistance to businesses with innovative ideas.
  10. The Lemelson Center: The Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian Institute promotes the study of invention and innovation.

Industries

Educational resources can sometimes be frustrating because they tend to focus on theory, while you’re looking for concrete ideas. Check out these blogs for some specialization in a few industries.

  1. Peter Gordon’s Blog: Find out what this USC professor thinks about the economy and real estate development.
  2. Notes on Design: Learn about design from both academics and professionals on this blog.
  3. The View from Here: The Business of Nascar: Read this blog to understand how business works in a place you might not think of.
  4. The Transportationist: David Levin writes about transportation and the economy.

International Business

In today’s global economy, entrepreneurs must be familiar with the ideas of international business. Learn about law, events, and more issues in international business with these sites.

  1. CIBER: CIBER centers for international business offer events, online resources, publications and more.
  2. Exploring International Law: Read this blog to consider how law and politics may affect international business.
  3. Global Edge Resource Desk: Visit this site for a collection of resources that are useful for international business.
  4. International Business Resource Connection: Check out this site from the University of Kansas, and you’ll find loads of helpful resources for international business.

Knowledge & Information

At the root of every institution of learning is information. These libraries, defenders of free knowledge, and business training sites have a lot of information to offer entrepreneurs.

  1. Information Law Possum: Daniel Haeusermann blogs about copyright, privacy, and more issues in information law.
  2. Knowledge Economy: Learn about the way knowledge is becoming more valuable in this blog.
  3. BizBrary: Get information about business news and more from this business librarian.
  4. Collectanea: Learn about the latest in copyright on Collectanea.
  5. Business Blog: Learn how to better research for business with this library blog.
  6. e3 Information Overload: Librarian Brian Gray discusses strategies for taming the beast of excessive information.
  7. Open Access News: Learn about the movement to make information free and available online on this blog.
  8. InfoMatters: Andrew Dillon asks questions like, "Why do I have to pay for bundled cable rather than just the channels I actually watch?"
  9. Info/Law: Info/Law blogs about the way that law evolves around the commodity of information.
  10. Business News and Resources at the Sterne Library: Stay up to date on business news and resources with this blog from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  11. Jackson Blog: Stanford’s Jackson Library has a blog that shares topics in business ethics, news, and lots more.
  12. Law and Information: Check out Urs Gasser’s blog to learn about the role of law in information.
  13. IESE Insight: IESE is all about know-how and business knowledge.

Accounting

Accounting may not be your favorite part of doing business, but managing money is essential to your success. Learn about accounting behaviors, tax systems, and monetary warning signs on these sites.

  1. Behavioral Research in Accounting: This resource is full of journal issues about behavior in accounting.
  2. World Tax Database: Visit this tax database for historical data on tax systems worldwide.
  3. Finance Weblog: Read about the subprime crisis, financial markets, and more on this blog.
  4. Forensic Investing Red Flags: Check out these warning signs to make sure you’re handling money responsibly and not scaring off investors.

Law

As a business owner, you can’t afford to ignore legal issues. Consider business law and lots more with these blogs.

  1. Harvard Law School Corporate Governance Blog: Learn about corporate governance from faculty, fellows and board members at Harvard’s Program on Corporate Governance.
  2. Truth on the Market: These law professors write about business law, economics, and lots more.
  3. This Day at Law: Learn about historic laws every day in this blog.
  4. Doc Searls: Doc Searls blogs about a number of different issues in law, business, and more.
  5. Amy Campbell’s Weblog: Amy Campbell discusses the marketing of law firms.

Startups

Getting started is perhaps the most fun, but daunting, part of entrepreneurship. These sites offer assistance, advice, and even training for budding business owners.

  1. Get It Started!: Read Wharton’s Get It Started blog for advice on startups and more.
  2. Starting Up: Get access to this startup column written by MIT Sloan’s Joseph Hadzima here.
  3. University as Entrepreneur: This blog from Arizona State University promotes an entrepreneurial spirit for students and beyond.
  4. start me up!: Ron Graham supports and educates young entrepreneurs in this blog and beyond.
  5. Small Business Development Center: Get seminars, consultation, training, and a lot more from this center at the Fox School of Business.

Management

Starting up is only the first part of the battle—once you’ve launched, it’s time to keep afloat. Check out these sites for a little help with managing your business.

  1. HR and Labor News: This library blog delivers the latest news in labor and human resources.
  2. Online Business Training: Learn about business management and more online with the Arkansas Small Business Development Center.
  3. Working Knowledge: This blog for business leaders discusses everything from globalization to leadership and management.
  4. Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative: Harvard’s Leadership Initiative has lots of great resources, like essays on best practices, a database of American business leaders, and business cases.
  5. Management Consultancy International: Link learning with business success using Management Consultancy International’s approach.
  6. Journal of Labor Economics: Consider human resource issues with this labor economics journal.
  7. MIT OpenCourseWare: Learn about management, social sciences, and much more with these courses from MIT.

Technology

Many of today’s entrepreneurs develop technology-focused businesses. If you happen to be one of them, you’ll appreciate the gold mines on these sites, with insight on intellectual property, the future of tech, and more.

  1. Furd Log: Check out the Furd Log for discussions on intellectual property.
  2. Ramesh Jain: This blog covers experiential computing and next generation search.
  3. Clarifying and Explaining: Clarifying and Explaining discusses implementations of new technology and what they mean for issues like freedom and copyright.
  4. Complexity and Social Networks Blog: Check out topics like social finance, innovation, knowledge sharing, and more on the Complexity and Social Networks blog.
  5. GrepLaw: GrepLaw is a forum for information, news, and commentary on information technology and law.
  6. John Palfrey: John Palfrey at Harvard discusses topics such as intellectual property, copyright, and privacy.
  7. University of Washington Emerging Technology: Here, learn about upcoming technologies for the university and beyond.
  8. Stanford Center for Internet and Society: Learn about legal doctrines information that will affect technology entrepreneurs now and in the future.
  9. Liberty Road: Kevin Morooney blogs about IT, business intelligence, and more.
  10. Berkman Center for Internet & Society: Learn about the challenges and opportunities of the Internet from this center at Harvard Law.

Economics

Market conditions and economic trends in general can have a huge impact on the success of your business. Check out these sites to get a peek at the way it all works.

  1. Planning & Markets: This journal discusses the difference between planned interventions and market approaches.
  2. Unintended Consequences: Check out Mike Ward’s blog about counter-intuitive economic findings.
  3. Theory B: Get a different view on business and economics with this blog.
  4. Finance Weblog: Check out this blog from Instituto de Empresa for news and commentary on current events in economics and finance.
  5. The LockeSmith Blog: Understand the economic principles of individualism, free market, and more using this blog.
  6. Political Economy Research Institute: Learn about how economics and politics can affect your business here.
  7. Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science: Learn about relative prices, inflation, and other topics in economics here.
  8. California Policy Inbox: Get up to date on California’s economy and business with this blog.
  9. UChannel: Check out UChannel to get the latest economic news in academia.
  10. Business Blog: Read this blog for news, research tips, and resources for business and economics from Colorado State University.
  11. The Entrepreneurial Mind: Jeff Cornwall’s blog focuses on entrepreneur issues as they relate to venture capital, finance, and the general economy.
  12. Economics News: Read Economics News to stay up to date on news, events, and resources in economics.

Responsibility

For entrepreneurs these days, it’s often not enough just to be financially successful—it’s important to be socially and environmentally responsible in business, too. Check out these sites for assistance and advice for achieving these goals.

  1. The Nelson Institute: Learn about how your business can be environmentally responsible in this blog.
  2. Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility: Xavier University has lots of resources for socially responsible business.
  3. Center for Responsible Business: This center at Berkeley is a resource for research and advice for businesses who want to adopt responsible practices.
  4. Environmental News Bits: Check out this blog from the University of Illinois that aggregates environmental news.
  5. Students for Responsible Business: This organization offers consulting on responsible business.

Entrepreneur Societies

Whether you’re an alum or just an entrepreneur looking for networking, assistance, or information, these entrepreneur society sites have a lot to offer.

  1. Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship: Rice supports entrepreneurs in Houston, and has helped launch over 150 technology companies since 1999.
  2. Cornell Entrepreneur Network: Even if you aren’t a Cornell alum, you can still take advantage of this network’s collection of interviews and other entrepreneurial resources.
  3. University of Oklahoma Entrepreneur Society: Get help planning for a new business through this society.
  4. Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs: This student-run organization has lots of great links, challenges, and more.
  5. UT McCombs Entrepreneur Society: Get connected with VCs, entrepreneurship guides, and lots of other resources through this University of Texas society.
  6. University of Central Florida Student Entrepreneur Society: UCF’s Student Entrepreneur Society is full of helpful resources, like an entrepreneur network, sample business plans, an idea café and more.

Other

There is so much helpful information in these sites that we can’t possibly fit them into a category. Check them out for discussions on issues like diversity, memory, and writing.

  1. Words on Work: This resource site from the Carlson School of Management offers materials relating to industrial relations.
  2. Talking Biz News: Read this blog to learn about journalism in business.
  3. Diversity Weblog: The Instutio de Empresa’s Diversity Weblog discusses female leadership and more.
  4. Common Errors in English: Effective communication is vital to any business. Brush up with this site.
  5. This is Not a Blog: Learn about online journalism in this non-blog from NYU.
  6. Babson Women’s Business Blog: This blog shares information relating to the advancement of women and business.
  7. Three Percent: Writers considering publishing a book should read this blog about the business of books and international writing.
  8. work/space: Read this blog from Johndan Johnson-Eilola for subjects like memory landscapes, technology, and more.
  9. Dean Bruner’s Blog: Read Dean Robert Bruner’s blog for insight on general business topics.

Productivity Resources for Freelancers

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 7:00pm by Site Administrator

If you’re even a semi-regular reader of Bootstrapper, you’ve probably figured out that we don’t cover Freelancing here all that much. We recently published The 100 Tools Freelancers Can’t Live Without, and it forced me to the realization that there really is a connection between freelancing and entrepreneurship. I’m a long time freelancer and also an entrepreneur. Freelancing is often a gateway towards entrepreneurship. Freelancers are used to working for themselves, and they’re familiar with the ebb and flow of income. So it can be a great stepping stone towards entrepreneurship. It teaches you a lot of facets about doing business but without the same kind of commitments or even hassles. (It has for me, but I’ve still got a lot to learn about entrepreneurship.) There are two great freelancing blogs to check out: FreelanceFolder and FreelanceSwitch. And if you’re looking for freelance writing and editing work, check out Freelance Writing Gigs. If you’re wondering where the actual transition between freelancer and entrepreneur is, I have to say I’m not entirely sure. They could potentially involve other people in the equation, so hiring doesn’t define either. However, freelancers are perceived to "work for" clients and  entrepreneurs tend to have customers, along with shorter-term interactions. A freelancer is not an entrepreneur but might become one. On the other hand, I’m now hovering between both states.

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